New book chapter: contribution to 'The Politics of Inclusive Development'
Senior DLP researcher Claire Mcloughlin is one of the contributors to The Politics of Inclusive Development: Interrogating the Evidence, published this month by OUP. The book, which is edited by Sam Hickey, Kunal Sen and Badru Bukenyu, is dedicated to the memory of the late Adrian Leftwich, DLP's founding Director of Research.
The book is the first major academic collection from the Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre (ESID). It is made up of a large number of studies that demonstrate why politics and institutions matter in development and the delivery of growth and services.
The studies show that the universal prescriptions of the original new institutionalism – democracy, decentralisation, strengthening the demand side, and so on – are double-edged and may weaken rather than strengthen development outcomes. They attempt to identify a typology of political conditions that may be able to generate type-specific findings to stand alongside case-specific conclusions.
Claire, who today has been taking part in a High Level Roundtable on Improving Lives and Reducing Violence through the Provision of Services, has contributed a chapter that discusses the politics of what works in service delivery. She concludes that resources alone do not determine how effective service delivery is. Politics intervene to either constrain or enable delivery, and yet there has been little examination of this.
She argues that a bottom-up approach to analysis of why some formal programmes work and some don't is more likely to reveal the interplay of interests and incentives that help or hinder service delivery.
Two key aspects of service delivery – the characteristics of sectors and their mode of delivery – are too often treated as managerial challenges. Claire argues that they are more than technical challenges and, in fact, influence the relative power of principals and agents, providers and consumers of services.